Jeramy Dodds
2014
The Poetic Edda
Coach House Books
279 pages

Translated poems (35):

Codex Regius (31)
Vǫluspá, Hávamál, Vafþrúðnismál, Grímnismál, Skírnismál, Hárbarðsljóð, Hymiskviða, Lokasenna, Þrymskviða, Vǫlundarkviða, Alvíssmál, Frá dauða Sinfjǫtla, Grípisspá, Reginsmál, Fáfnismál, Sigrdrífumál, Brot af Sigurðarkviðu, Sigurðarkviða hin skamma, Helreið Brynhildar, Dráp Niflunga, Oddrúnargrátr, Atlakviða, Atlamál, Guðrúnarhvǫt, Hamðismál, Helgakviða Hundingsbana (I, II), Helgakviða Hjǫrvarðssonar, Guðrúnarkviða (I, II, III)

Non-Codex Regius (4)
Baldrs draumar, Rígsþula, Hyndluljóð, Grottasǫngr

Other notable contents: Contains a four page foreword by scholar Terry Gunnel (University of Iceland)
Notes? None
Dual edition? No
Bowlderization/censorship: None (cf. pp. 80-81, 101)
Original illustrations? Sleeve art by JAW Cooper. Map of Nine Worlds on p.13 and ravens on pages 25, 125, and 245 by Gabe Foreman.


SAMPLES

a.) Vǫluspá (p. 26):

3 Ymir struck camp when time began.
No land, sand or sea folding on itself,
no sky, earth or grass swaying atop its girth,
on the cavern of chaos’s gaping gulf.

b.) Helgakviða Hundingsbana II (p. 150):

Going into the mound, Sigrun said to Helgi:
42 ‘I’m as eager for us to meet as
Odin’s hawks are eager to eat,
picking up the scent of the slaughtered,
warm flesh, on the dew-bright day’s gleam.’

c.) Rígsþula (p. 254):

45 'He competed in runes with Earl Rig -
he dogged him, and was more cunning.
He bettered him, winning the right
to learn more runes and call himself Rig.


Reviews

1. Ball, Jonathan. 2015. “Norse tales crack with vitality and energy”. Winnipeg Free Press. Online. Positive review. Sample quote:

“Dodds, an award-winning poet and editor, holds a master's degree in medieval Icelandic studies. His translation of these tales of Norse gods and heroes crackles with energy and vitality, avoiding the formal tone that plagues similar projects in favour of bawdy, lively lines.”

2. Colman, Robert. 2015. “A New Energy for Old Lore: A review of ‘The Poetic Edda’”. PRISM international. Online. Positive review. Sample quote:

"Jeramy Dodds’ translation of the Icelandic Poetic Edda is a satisfying read in many respects because it appears that he has found a balance among all these competing considerations. The Edda is an excellent fit for someone so adept at wordplay. The Poetic Edda was originally written down in Iceland around 1270 by an unknown scribe, capturing on the page for the first time the old oral lore that circulated in Northern Europe. It encompasses tales of gods and half-gods we have all heard in one form or another, such as Odin, Thor, and Loki, and heroic poems of kings whose lives are shaped and played out by fate. The cast of characters is long, and their music is captivating.”

3. Anonymous. 2015. "Review: The Poetic Edda." Publishers Weekly. Online. Positive Review. Sample quote:

“Dodds has brought forth an exciting new translation of these Medieval Icelandic poems. So important to the stock of Norse mythology, this great inheritance is adapted and treated in three key divisions: the mythological poems, heroic poems, and the inclusion of some representative material not present in the Codex Regius.”
 

Observations

While Jeramy Dodds is an academic, he's best known as a poet. This fact makes his approach to translation differ from many of his fellow translators, the vast majority of whom are strictly academics who produce no evident creative output. However, while Dodds breaks away from his predecessors in style, Dodds's translation also entirely lacks footnotes or endnotes, making the complex and alien format of the Poetic Edda nearly impossible for beginners to parse without heavily reliance on secondary sources. Jackson Crawford's translation continued this unfortunate trend the following year.
 

Return to
Eddic to English